Empathy for Stormtroopers

Even if you aren’t into science fiction, undoubtedly you’ve heard of Star Wars. People around the world have shared in the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo and their expanded universe for over forty years. While the franchise may not be one you indulge in, you’ve likely heard that this past December, the Skywalker saga has come to a close. The ninth of nine movies is now playing in theaters.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/views/2020/empathy-stormtroopers

Labeling others as well as ourselves is a common practice among the “saints”. We do it all the time and the big problem is that it is unfair, wrong and misguided.The main harm is to each of us as we use labels to hurt others and ourselves.
Let’s do something about negative labeling others and ourselves in 2020.
Negative labeling

  • Restricts your potential by keeping you confined to the negative label.
  • It is self-prophetic. If you believe you’re useless, your actions and thoughts will be that of a useless person.
  • You often feel frustrated and unhappy, and often you’re unaware that your thoughts are the cause.
  • It can cause physical symptoms such as migraines, nausea, anxiety attacks, and stomach aches.
  • It is a major contributor to Depression and Anxiety.

Samples of negative labels: Ugly, Stupid, Weak, Fat, Loser, Hopeless, Selfish, Unworthy, Poor, etc.

Being aware when you’re undermining yourself is a positive step in the right direction. Although we know the truths about our self, constantly highlighting weaknesses and mistakes, and calling ourselves names will lead to unhappiness and undermines our potential. The labels we attach to ourselves can be a powerful motivator or detractor. Where the label came from, whether from society or a self judgement, doesn’t matter. If you adopt, reinforce, and feed the label in your mind – you give it power over you.

Sometimes we exaggerate a situation and blow things out of proportion at the height of emotions. Gather the facts and examine them first. If you failed at a task or you did not reach a goal, does that really make you a hopeless, good-for-nothing?

Granted that your self-judgement may be justified. Is this the person you want to be? Are you happy to be labeled this way? If not, there’s always something you can do to change things. And if it’s something you can’t change, then change the way you think about it. Look for your other strengths and label yourself with those, and not highlight the negatives.


Thanks for the important thoughts in this article. We have all been “the other” at some point, and the lines have never been drawn more clearly. I thought that the stormtroopers who were all clones of the bounty hunter were especially effective as a representation of the interchangeable bad guys. They were quite literally cut from the same genetic cloth. Not only did we not see faces, but the clones were understood to be without independent identity or thought.

When we are approached by a newcomer, whether the arena is religion, politics, or whatever matter we find foundational, it’s very easy to see another clone. We are called to do better.


I appreciate your article…there is much to self-examine in it. Thank-you.

Unfortunately, too many Christian groups do a disservice to the “others” by making it clear who they are and why they are not part of the “group”. I don’t need to name the “labels” because most of us know what they are. No empathy, no compassion…just because they are “different”. Their humanity is stripped away and they are “less than”.


As a point of interest, the Methodist are splitting over gay clergy and marriage. They have tried to come to a compromise position but were unable to bridge the divide


To the contrary, if there were a denomination who would be well versed with Star War principles, it has to be the SDA church for the simple reason that the Star Wars is the Great Controversy redux for the 21st century.


The same may happen within Adventism- depending upon who and what takes the helm next.

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I agree that a division might happen.

Actually this division will demonstrate whether liberal Methodists, a church whose Liberals are very close to ours, can run a successful enterprise. As far as I can see all the liberal churches so far have not been able to make a go. Liberal people are just don’t see the importance of evangelism, and emphasize different issues. They just don’t know how to retain membership.

Now, Methodists may have worked that out, but whatever happens, liberal Adventists can get an indication on what they can expect.

If they decide on a break, good luck to them.

I don’t know if the “division” will be planned or unplanned…but it is more likely than not. But the ball can be kicked down the road for a longer period of time. I think it has a lot to do whether or not the SDA Church can affectively compromise. If it cannot- eventually it may happen and the next President will be the bellwether.

Don’t believe that you can compare a Main Stream denomination to Adventism overall. Adventism is a rather quirky religion- so who knows how and what will exactly happen.

As far as membership goes…I tend to think that it is not theology that is driving the demise of Christian churches but rather the proliferation of secularism. Look at what has happened in Europe which was the birthplace of Protestantism.

"If they decide on a break, good luck to them."

Since you brought up the United Methodists as an example…the agreement to split was over LGBTQ issues. Eventually, the SDA Church may have to do the same over that or WO. Time will tell, but I hope and pray that the decisions are Spirit led. I see little of this in the decisions made by the current administration.

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The Methodists had an effective mission thrust into Africa about 100 yrs ago resulting in a fairly healthy church here. I believe they have about 4M there, and about maybe 5M here, or thereabouts. They have been discussing gay issues for years, and eventually it came to a head with the more liberal not willing to accept a compromise plan of some sort. A church board of leaders judged that homosexuality was not compatible with the book of disciple they had, and this prompted the more liberal to decide there was no path to acceptance of homosexual practice as OK. So when various proposals came to the body as a whole, and the group voted not to accept gay clergy or marriage, they decide to separate.

Although there are differences between us, our theology of salvation and governance are similar. And our voted stand on homosexuality is pretty much the same as well.

I agree that the choice of president (Like Lincoln) could decide it. If he is compromiser, there will be some sort of attempt at reconciliation, on the grounds that WO is allowed where it is wanted. I don’t think that is likely. I do not think Wilson will be re-elected. But I don’t think a pro-WO will be either. The best that can be expected is a man sympathetic, though not pro-WO. He might be able to broker a compromise. The votes at Fall Counsel did not bode well for WO advocates. The voted warnings were pretty stark. And the margins of passage were not overwhelming, but not that close either.

Unless the liberals get some sop thrown their way, they will leave. That is how I see it. And I think it would be a mistake.

As I have said before- either there is compromise or there will be a broken church in time. It really has more to do with the “conservatives” than the “liberals” at this point and time, Allen. It is interesting to watch.

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